Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Crappy Anniversary

Several years ago, I sent a note to someone on the anniversary of a big loss.  She wrote back saying, in short, she did not commemorate "bad" things.  On the face of it, it seems like a good policy.  But is it?

There is a lot to be said for commemorating the bad times.  I had one myself recently.  I have the mind of an elephant. I can remember word-for-word conversations that took place years ago.  I have a great mind for numbers, in general, and dates, in particular.  I am not going to forget the date of anything wonderful that happened.  Likewise, I am not going to forget very bad days, either. Sometimes I wish I could forget, but it is not my nature.  Forgive?  Yes, absolutely.  Forget?  Forget it!

My theory is that if you can't forget it, celebrate it.  So "Crappy Anniversary."  I am not talking about dredging up the past, jumping into muck and then wallowing in it; quite the opposite, actually.  I am suggesting that there is as much to be gained from the "crappy" anniversary as there is from the happy one.

I am able to look at the time has passed since then and see how I have grown from that experience.  I can see that I have become better at speaking my mind, standing up for myself and also admitting when I'm wrong.  I notice that I have never felt more bonded to my "big girls," Dear Hubby and my family of origin.  I see that my struggles encouraged me to reach out and forge stronger bonds with some friends who had been more on the periphery of my life.  It helped me reorder my priorities and make real choices about what matters most to me and how much I am willing to surrender in order to have those things.

We all know from personal experience that gold is forged in the fire.  There is no other way.  If we can look back and see not the flames but the refining, then we can truly learn from our suffering and enjoy what was created.  Therefore, I do not wish you pleasant forgetfulness.  Instead, Crappy Anniversary to you!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Announcement

I was recently invited to a paid blogging position at Adoption.com.   I am blogging about Sibling Adoption, Foster-Adopt, and Foster Care.   I am truly thrilled to be writing three times a week about something near and dear to my heart.  If you are interested in knowing more about foster care or adoption, this site is a great resource.  If you are interested in looking at some of my posts, just go to Adoption.com and search for "Dreena T".  One of my recent posts, "The Combo Basket"  is linked in the title and here.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Balancing Act

The other day I watched my almost two-year old son try to balance on the edge of the curb.  He took several steps in a row, slipped off, got back on again, slipped off immediately, and then finally had several yards of successful balancing.  As impressive a toddler feat as this is, what struck me most was his demeanor.

When he lost his balance, he just got back on and started moving forward again.  He did not berate himself for getting out of balance.   With a toddler's blissful absence of  mind-talk --equanimity if you will -- he did not judge himself at all.  Conversely, he instinctively realized he could not make progress unless he regained his balance first.  He experimented a bit by standing taller and shifting his weight around until he regained equilibrium

Equilibrium.  It's such a great word -- it refers not only to the physical act of balancing, but also the mental act, equanimity.  Sure, adult lives are complex.  But the principals of balancing are still simple; in the absence of mind-talk, it's just not that complicated.